Open ocean and rocky or sandy beaches /North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan
Size: 5 to 7 ft. • Weight: Up to 600 lbs.
The Northern Fur Seal is a marine mammal native to the Northern Pacific Ocean. They have a unique fur coat consisting of two layers: an outer layer of longer, coarse guard hairs and an inner layer of soft, insulating fur. This adaptation helps keep them warm in the chilly ocean waters. But unlike other seals, Northern Fur Seals have external ear flaps, which are visible as small, fleshy flaps on the sides of their heads.
This feature is shared with other members of the "eared seals" group, which includes sea lions and walruses. Social butterflies by nature, Norther Fur Seals love forming large breeding colonies (called rookeries) where they engage in lively conversations and epic water acrobatics. These rookeries can be home to thousands of individuals, creating a bustling and noisy environment. These charismatic creatures are excellent swimmers, reaching speeds of up to 20 miles (or 32 kilometres) per hour and diving as deep as 600 feet (or 183 meters) while searching for food. They primarily feed on fish, squid, and small crustaceans. When on land, these talented seals have been known to impress with their balancing acts, often perching on rocky outcrops like circus performers. Sadly, Northern Fur Seals are a protected species due to historical overhunting. Conservation efforts have helped their populations recover, but they still face threats such as entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, and climate change impacts on their food sources.
Visit our Northern Fur Seals at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Seal Cove exhibit and prepare to be enchanted by their fancy footwork and loud banter. They're truly superstars of the ocean, bringing joy and laughter wherever they go.